Eros

Eros is a questionable fellow and will always remain so, whatever the legislation of the future may have to say about it.  He belongs on one side to man’s primordial animal nature which will endure as man has an animal body.  On the other side he is related to the highest forms of the spirit.  But he thrives only when spirit and instinct are in right harmony.  If one or the other aspect is lacking to him, the result is injury or at least a lopsidedness that may easily veer towards the pathological.  Too much of the animal distorts the civilized man, too much civilization makes sick animals.  This dilemma reveals the vast uncertainty that Eros hold for man.  For, at bottom, Eros is a superhuman power which, like nature herself, allows itself to be conquered and exploited as though it were impotent.  But triumph over nature is dearly paid for.  Nature requires no explanations of principle, but asks only for tolerance and wise measure. 

“Eros is a mighty daemon,” as the wise Diotima said to Socrates.  We shall never get the better of him, or only to our own hurt.  He is not the whole of our inward nature, though he is at least one of its essential aspects.  Thus Freud’s sexual theory of neurosis is grounded on a true and factual principle.  But it makes the mistake of being one-sided and exclusive; also it commits the imprudence of trying to lay hold of unconfinable Eros with the crude terminology of sex.  In this respect Freud is a typical representative of the materialistic epoch, whose hope it was to solve the world riddle in a test-tube.  Freud himself, with advancing years, admitted this lack of balance in his theory, and he opposed to Eros, whom he called libido, the destructive or death instinct.  In his posthumous writings he says: 

After long hesitancies and vacillations we have decided to assume the existence of only two basic instincts, Eros and the destructive instinct ….  The aim of the first of these basic instincts is to establish ever greater unities and to preserve them thus – in short, to bind together; the aim of the second is, on the contrary, to undo connections and so to destroy things …. For this reason we also call it the death instinct. 

I must content myself with this passing reference, without entering more closely into the questionable nature of the conception.  It is sufficiently obvious that life, like any other process, has a beginning and an end and that every beginning is also the beginning of the end.  What Freud probably means is the essential fact that every process is a phenomenon of energy, and that all energy can proceed only from the tension of opposites.  2EoAP 29

Eros and power, therefore, as Jung always points out, are opposed to each other.  You cannot have them together; they exclude each other. 

People imprison love and sex by behaving as though they were the owners.  That would be the woman who uses her beauty and charm to catch a rich husband.  That means she does not love him; she uses love, or what is supposed to be love, to make a career, to catch a rich husband, or whatever she may want.  She behaves as if she were the owner, and she directs it … If she noticed that she was falling in love with a chimney-sweep, she would repress her feeling in statu nascendi (nip it in the bud) because it would not suit her to love a social nobody.  On the other hand, she would deceive herself into believing that she loved the great Mr. X who had a lot of money.  She would try to convince herself that she loved a man who would fit in with her ego and power plans, and any kind of spontaneous eruption of eros would be repressed.  So love generally degenerates into its most basic fact, namely sexuality, which is imprisoned in intellectual planning.  Sexuality is used as a hook to catch a suitable partner for suitable reasons, and all real love, which generally dissolves the fetters and boundary lines and creates new life situations, is anxiously repressed.  TPoPA 211

Feminine consciousness and the feminine in general, as well as man’s anima, are personified by the moon; Jung has equated these qualities with the conception of Eros.  TGL 200